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Free-scoring Arsenal want to win it all says Odegaard

Arsenal midfielder Martin Odegaard. Photo: Ian Kington/IKIMAGES/AFP

Martin Odegaard has urged Arsenal to use the momentum from their recent goal spree to fuel the club’s historic bid for Champions League and Premier League glory.

The Gunners head to Porto on Wednesday for the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie in buoyant mood after demolishing Burnley 5-0 last weekend.

Mikel Arteta’s side have started a calendar year with five successive league wins for the first time in their history, scoring 21 goals in those games.

Arsenal are just two points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool and can turn their attention to Porto safe in the knowledge they are firmly in the hunt for a first title since 2004.

As well as reigning supreme in England for the first time in 20 years, the north Londoners are convinced they can also conquer Europe.

Arsenal have never won the Champions League — losing their only final appearance against Barcelona in 2006.

Buoyed by the recent string of high-scoring wins, Gunners captain Odegaard is confident his team can mount a thrilling bid for both trophies.

“That’s what we want to do, we want to compete in every competition we play in,” the Norway midfielder said.

“Of course Champions League is a massive one, so we are excited for it.

“We just want to focus on ourselves each game, keep improving every game and we will see how it goes.

“We are in a good moment now. We have to use that momentum, keep building on it and we will see.”

Blistering run

Arsenal lost their opening game of the year to Liverpool in the FA Cup.

Revitalised by a warm-weather training camp in Dubai, they crushed Crystal Palace 5-0 and beat Nottingham Forest. They put Liverpool to the sword in a 3-1 league victory that served notice of Arsenal’s hunger to make amends for last season’s late collapse in the title race.

They then thrashed West Ham 6-0 before crushing Burnley.

Porto, a disappointing third in the Portuguese league, could be next to suffer against Arsenal’s suddenly ruthless attack.

For much of the season, critics suggested Arsenal’s lack of a genuine penalty-box predator could ruin their title chances.

Gabriel Jesus’s recurring injury problems have hardly helped but, even with the Brazilian playing just twice in 2024, Arsenal have been scoring with ease.

“I think that’s what we were missing a little bit in the last few weeks before the break. We created so much but we didn’t score the goals,” Odegaard said.

“But within the last few games, we’ve been brilliant in front of goal. We get so many people in the box and so many situations around the box.”

England winger Bukayo Saka has been one of the key figures in Arsenal’s blistering run. Stopping him will be an essential part of Porto’s game-plan at the Estadio do Dragao.

The 22-year-old scored twice against Burnley, giving him seven goals in his last seven games.

“The boss told us we’re the first Arsenal team to win five in a row at the start of the year, so it’s a nice achievement and we’ll definitely build momentum going forward,” he said.

“Not only that I’m playing well, the team’s playing well and we’re scoring a lot of goals because we’ve got some really important fixtures coming up, starting on Wednesday.

“I can’t wait to go there. I’m really excited, looking forward to it and hopefully we can take this form into that game as well.”

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